You Only Have A Visa Here
“Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul.” 1 Peter 2:11 Amplified Bible
This is so true even in the church culture today. In fact, I can examine that verse and reflect upon ways that I allow myself to be too focused on the world and the things of the world. At the end of the day, no matter how I may rationalize it, I am only warring against my soul.
My soul is my mind, my personality, my will, that eternally unique creation that God made in me. This is saying that when I live in the world and not as an outsider when I allow the lower nature or the natural mind to focus on worldly things that are opposed to the Word, then I am warring against my very soul. With that understanding, I can then answer the question “Why are there so many people who are wounded in their souls?” “Why are so many people hurt, depressed, and defeated in the Body of Christ?” “Why do we so often suffer setbacks when we stand on the Word?” “Why do so many believers feel the frustration when their prayers seem to go unanswered and Godly power that seems to not work in their life?”
In large part the answer is that they have waged war against their souls. Peter starts this verse with the word “implore”. He is reminding all believers in Jesus to not live in this world as citizens. We are citizens of heaven and are merely visitors here.
We are to totally avoid (not flirt with or dance with) the evil desires and passions of the flesh. Doing this gives us over to anger, depression, jealousy, greed, anything which focuses us on self and selfish desires. When we give ourselves over to these things that are common to the residents of this world, we wage war with our soul.
How do we avoid this? If we read that verse in the NKJV, it says we are to be sojourners and pilgrims in this world. It means I live with those that are in this world but the world is not my own. I want to lead those in the world to citizenship in the New Jerusalem.
We have only a visa to be here in this world. Too often we act as though we have permanent residence here. Because so many live like permanent residents they have damaged their souls and disquieted their own existence. We must live as sojourners in this world. We just have a visa – thank God!
J Todd Hostetler